“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”
— Maya Angelou
Maybe, like me, you’re new to writing…… or perhaps you’re a bit more seasoned. Either way, I’m sure you will agree that, as writers, we often find it difficult to focus and even more difficult to come up with what we want to say.
This leads me to the question of the day. Why in the heck is it so hard for most of us to concentrate on writing? Not just writing, it can be hard to focus on almost anything creative right?
It’s like regardless of how hard we try, we will sacrifice the writing for almost every other petty task on our list. Take me for example. I’ll browse Facebook, check my Gmail account, text, clean, or even go to sleep….all while saying to myself that I will get to the writing.
Yes I’m a newbie, but I’ve discovered some tricks that really help me to get into the writing zone and back to the paper…or in this case….the keys.
1. Block out time to write (Pun Intended). I’ve learned that simply telling myself “Today I’m going to write on my blog or write a chapter in my book”, is NOT going to get it done. It is absolutely essential that a specified span of time be set aside solely for that writing. I don’t care if it’s 15 minutes, an hour, or 2 hours; just do it. For example, if you say that you will write from 7-8 p.m— nothing and I do mean nothing should be penciled in for that time. I’m one to talk but hey, let’s get it together shall we? We can’t be boss ladies and best-selling authors if we aren’t disciplined right?
2. Get an accountability partner. If you are blessed enough to have a great friend, spouse, significant other, or family member in your corner, let them help you! Start telling them when you are scheduled to write and come up with a way to check in and prove that you’ve done your due diligence. If you don’t live up to your goal, then pay them a specified amount of money, do 30 squats, or take them to lunch. If you’re anything like me, you value your precious coins (Heck I’ve got student loans to pay) and you’re not trying to do any more squats than you already are. Needless to say, I trust you’ll get that writing done instead.
3. Get rid of the noise! FOCUS child FOCUS. When you sit down for your specified writing block, get rid of the things that will disrupt the process. If at all possible, turn off your phone, close all open tabs on your laptop except for your writing program, and unplug the television and/or radio. You’re writing will thank you.
4. Resist the resistance. This one is short. Just get started. When that little devil on your shoulder starts nagging at you to do something else, to dislike the process, or to quit…. press on. Write a few words. I can almost guarantee that more words will start to flow and at a minimum, you will be off to a great start.
5. Use your imagination. I figured I would save the best for last. When you’ve finally blocked out your time, informed your accountability partner (if applicable), turned off any distractions, and resisted temptation to stop…..imagine you are speaking to your best friend. What is something great and awesome that you would want to teach or share with a friend? Now tell them……well in your book or blog post of course. Try it! Trust me, it works like a charm.
I hope I’ve shared something that has inspired you to kick your writer’s block and/or lack of focus in the butt. Now get to it chicka, You’ve got some writing to do.
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